Newsletter 3 Foods of Norway 2017

Research updates

Liv R. Bjergene

Piglets test feed from trees

Yeast grown on sugars from tree biomass has proven to be a sustainable protein source in fish diets. Will piglets thrive on a diet where the protein source is yeast derived from Norwegian tree biomass?

This winter 48 piglets at the university farm, Ås gård, were fed four different experimental diets with yeast level 0,10,20 and 40 percent of the protein from the protein-rich feed ingredients.

"This is a dose-response study, where the piglets will be fed increasing levels of proteins from yeast. For us, this is the first time we test such high amounts of yeast for piglets", Foods of Norway researcher Adrijana Skugor explains.

Parameters that will be documented include feed intake and growth rate, as well as the effects on health. Yeast contains high amounts of anti-oxidants. The positive effects this might have on the storage quality of the meat will also be documented.

Janne Brodin

Selection method for efficient animals in aquaculture production

Improved feed efficiency is the most imperative trait in animal breeding and genetics. Foods of Nor­way focuses specifically on developing breeding strategies to increase feed efficiency of farm animals.

One of the goals of Foods of Norway’s research is to select fish that utilize feed more ef­ficiently. In other words, more fish produced per unit of feed. Improved feed efficiency implies that the fish reach slaughter weight sooner, and this reduces the need for feed.

Previously, selection for improved feed efficiency was based on improved growth rate, which is an indirect method. A direct method depends on recording individual feed intake, but this is close to noe feasible with fish.

In Foods of Norway we aim to improve selection by developing alternative methods to directly phenotype for feed efficiency (phenomics). Foods of Norway’s PhD student Hanne Dvergedal has recently carried out an experiment to investigate a specific phenotyping strategy in 23 different salmon families. Specifically, she is looking into whether individually recorded phenotypes are heritable and how they relate to feed efficiency.

In addition to phenotyping for feed efficiency, the project also focuses on gaining an in depth understanding of the biological mechanisms that explain the differences in feed efficiency among the fish and fish families, which are all important elements in a systems-analytical approach to our research.  

Based on the insights generated from this experiment, a large-scale experiment with salmon in the sea will be planned in 2019.

The experiments are run in close cooperation with Foods of Norway’s industry partner AquaGen.

Håkon Sparre

Research to improve grass silage quality and digestibility

The natritional value of forage is often limited by its high fiber content. With Norway's challenging climatic, harvesting and topographical conditions, traditional methods to improve the nutritional quality of forage are limited. Foods of Norway therefore applies more robust methods to improve the digestibility of grass. This could contribute significantly to better resource utilization, improved feed efficiency, and lower feed costs, which are major goals for Foods of Norway's research.

Together with industry partner TINE and local Norwegian farmers, grass silage from 100 farms all over Norway has been collected. This effort forms the basis for an ongoing large-scale experiment where digestibility of ruminants is measured and where more robust methods based on mechanical, chemical, and novel enzymatic pretreatments are applied.

NMBU-researcher Liv Torunn Mydland is in charge of the experiment.

"This is a big trial. As far as I am aware of, this many silages of different qualities has never been studied in such detail before as TINE and our research group are doing now", Mydland says.

All these silage samples from the 100 farms will also be stored in a 'grass silage bank' for future research and optimization of new methodology.



Sandeeep Sharma
In April, Foods of Norway, SINTEF Ocean and SIG Seaweed joined forces to hold a joint seminar on seaweed. More than 100 people packed the meeting room to learn and exchange knowledge. Foods of Norway and SINTEF Ocean will continue to exchange knowledge on seaweed.

"Closer collaboration with Foods of Norway is very important for us. The Centre has extensive knowledge on seaweed as a feed ingredient for salmon and farm animals as well as insights into processes to optimize the low base level of protein in seaweed. The potential for cultivating seaweed is considerable. In order to exploit the whole value chain, there is a need for bulk products such as feed," Jorunn Skjermo in SIG Seaweed explains.


Planned research activities autumn 2017

Pig experiment to evaluate Norwegian feed resources

A large experiment will be performed with pigs from weaning all the way to slaughter. The aim is to document the effect of using Norwegian feed resources on growth performance, health and the quality of the pork.

Fermentation and enzymology

Research will mostly be focusing on nitrogen rich residues;

1) Scaling up the production of meat and fish hydrolysates in new 30 liter hydrolysis tanks.

2) Using these hydrolysates as nutrient sources for yeast. 

3) Using enzymes to increase the release of sugars from seaweed more efficiently. 

Spin-off projects in Foods of Norway

In February, “SusPig” was approved for funding by EU's ERA-Net SusAn Co-funded call. The network gathers top research expertise on nutrition and feed efficiency and will be a boost for NMBU’s nutrition research.

Master degrees spring 2017

Ingrid Marie Håkenåsen: "Feed intake, nutrient digestibility, growth performance and general health of piglets fed increasing levels of yeast".

New staff members


 Milena Bjelanovic is a research technician and has worked for Foods of Norway since January 2017. She is involved in several of Foods of Norway's work packages. She investigates the nutritional value and potential health benefits of novel feed ingredients in feed to fish and other domestic animals. She also takes part in the planning and sampling of Foods of Norway experiments, as well as regular work in the laboratory. Bjelanovic holds a masters degree in food science at NMBU and works on her PhD on meat quality.

Janne Brodin
 Ana Cruz started in September 2016 as a PhD student under the Research Council of Norway's industrial PhD programme. She is an employee at Felleskjøpet Fôrutvikling. The working title of her thesis is "Novel protein sources produced from advanced bioprocessing for monogastric animals".


Postdoctoral fellowship in feed ingredient processing and animal nutrition

Deadline: August 7, 2017.

Postdoctoral fellowship in monogastric animal nutrition and health

Deadline: August 7, 2017.

News coverage

Media's interest for Foods of Norway continues.

During January and February Foods of Norway research was promoted in the TV programme "Utan mat og drikke", shown three times on NRK 2 and NRK 1 and awarded Bondevettsprisen by the Norwegian Farmers Union. More detailed information on Foods of Norway's research using timber and seaweed as novel protein sources was published at NRK Ytring

In March the research trial on pigs testing novel protein souces from trees, was published on NRK Østlandssendingen and NRK Dagsrevyen 21.

On our website you will find updated lists of electronically accessible news items. These are some of the latest items (in Norwegian):

Ekspertpanel: Utfordringer og løsninger i matindustrien (28.06.2017 Mediaplanet, distribuert i Aftenposten)

Tømmer og tang på matfatet (04.05.2017 Viken Skog)

Grønt gull i skogen (02.05.2017 Dagsavisen)

Skogen - en underutnyttet ressurs (21.04.2017 Norsk Landbrukssamvirke)

Kan oppdrettslaksen fôres med alger, treflis og insekter? (23.03.2017 Framtiden i våre hender) 

Griser gomler grantrær og redder regnskogen (07.03.2017 NRK Østlandssendingen, nett)

Grantrær blir til dyrefôr (07.03.2017 NRK Østlandssendingen, radio)

Kampen om det grønne karbonet (22.02.2017 Dagens Næringsliv og NMBU)

Published 30. June 2017 - 9:42 - Updated 16. November 2017 - 14:25